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Competition leaves a permanent genetic imprint on the brains of songbirds

Competition leaves a permanent genetic imprint on the brains of songbirds

Science
March 22 (UPI) -- New research suggests a single competitive interaction can leave a lasting genetic impression on the brains of songbirds. Competition for territory, mates and prey drive evolution, but evolutionary changes are often only visible across vast timescales. Advertisement Scientists at Indiana University wanted to find out how competition inspires genetic changes among individual songbirds. In previous experiments, researchers found frequent competition alters gene expression in the brains of birds, inspiring more aggressive behavior -- perhaps, preparing birds for future competitive bouts. For the latest study, published this week in the journal PNAS, researchers worked to zoom in on these short-term changes in order to better understand how competition in the short-term ins...